My most recent Tough Mudder experience (in Seattle!) has given me an opportunity to test out a bunch of essential oils on myself for their soothing effects. Even though I love using the oils, I still sometimes wonder if I am actually getting benefits from using them, or if I would have felt better anyway with the progression of time. Whenever possible, I reaffirm to myself just how much of a difference they actually do make for me. Here’s my little experiments for the week:
Despite having used (“normal” waterproof) sunscreen, I had a pretty pink burn that was fairly equal in severity on both sides of my body, especially on my shoulders and chest. Everything I’ve read said to use either lavender or melaleuca (tea tree) oil to soothe the burn. Here’s what I applied for this sunburn:
Left shoulder – 1 serving unscented lotion, 1 drop Helichrysum, 2 drops Lavender
Right shoulder – 1 serving unscented lotion, 1 drop Helichrysum, 2 drops Melaleuca
Chest – nothing, untreated
The Helichrysum was for additional soothing; kind of a backup in case the others didn’t work – since I really wanted to cool that sunburn quickly! This was repeated once a day for three days.
The results were quite convincing. The left shoulder (lavender) felt soothed and cool immediately. The next day, it was noticeably less pink as well as feeling soothed. The melaleuca side was better than the untreated area in terms of feeling soothed, but the pink color did not change. By the end of the three day treatment, the lavender side was feeling great, the melaleuca side was a lot better, and the untreated area was very itchy. At that point, I felt the results were conclusive enough that I switched to lavender lotion for the other two areas.
In previous Tough Mudders, it would take me nearly a week to feel like my muscles were recovered from the strenuous course. I wasn’t interested in testing only one side of my body for muscle pain relief, because as usual by the time I got home from the event I felt too much pain to walk normally. So, I applied a pain relief blend to my sore spots (ie, everywhere). The pain didn’t go away completely, but it was much more tolerable. By day two I only really ached in my thigh muscles, and felt normal by day four. This is several days faster recovery than the previous times I have done the event.
One final use of the oils post-event was for cleanup. Participants have to write their registration number in permanent ink on several limbs, and are also encouraged to write it on their face. In previous events, it has taken me several days to get off all the black ink – not very professional looking for Monday at work! This time, I got out my lemon essential oil and put a drop on a q-tip, and the ink lifted off entirely. Within a minute, there was no trace of the permanent marker numbers! What an easy wonderfully scented solution.
As always, this blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition, and no health claims are intended or implied. Check out my class calendar to learn more about essential oils.